New Page 1

Is it safe to travel in Turkey?
Turkey is one of the safest countries in the world in which to travel, and its crime rate is low in comparison to many Western European countries. Interpol ranked Turkey as the safest holiday destination in Europe for travelers. Naturally, we recommend that travelers to Turkey exercise the same precautions they would elsewhere, and be aware of security concerns that affect all international travelers. The Turkish Government takes air safety very seriously, and maintains strict oversight, particularly on international flights. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has places Turkey's civil aviation authority in Category 1-in full compliance with international aviation safety standards in overseeing Turkey's air carrier operations. In the days following the September 11 attacks, Turkish Airlines was one of the first international airlines cleared by the FAA to fly into the United States.
When is the best time to travel in Turkey?

The high season for travel in Turkey generally runs between mid-April and late-October. During the off-season, temperatures are much cooler and snow is possible in mountainous areas. Many visitors enjoy the spring and fall, with their mild weather and small crowds.

Coastal regions are particularly popular with tourists during the summer. These include resort areas along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast with beaches and yachting facilities. The coastline, especially between Izmir and Antalya, features numerous coves and bays and many nearby ancient cities and is perfect for yachting. A large number of international-quality marinas provide services for the yachtsman. For active travelers, swimming, fishing, water-skiing, surfing and diving are available.

Turkey also enjoys many spectacular rivers. They are ideal for canoeing, skiing and rafting. Mountaineering is also popular in mountain ranges throughout Turkey in spring and summer.

The high plateaus of the Eastern Black Sea Region are covered by colorful flowers and green pasture during spring and summer. Naturalists will enjoy the diversity of fauna and flora as well as the heart-stopping splendor of the surrounding landscape.

Central and Eastern Turkey can receive large accumulations of snow, and snow skiing is a favorite winter pastime. Turkey has several ski centers, which are generally open from December through April depending on snow conditions.

What are the Average Air and Water Temperatures for Turkey's major cities?
Temperatures are given in oC (degrees Celsius) in Turkey, which can be converted to oF (degrees Fahrenheit) with the formula: oF = (9/5)oC + 32

The web site of the General Directorate of the Turkish State Meteorological Service, www.meteor.gov.tr, gives current sea and air temperatures, humidity and 3-day weather forecasts for all cities in Turkey and for the holiday resorts of Alanya, Anamur, Bodrum, Dalaman, Finike and Marmaris.

When Should I Book my trip?
You can book till the last minute, provided that there is space and we have enough time to exchange travel documents. To ensure there is space available on your preferred tour, the earlier, the better.

Do you Offer Travel Insurance?
No. Please check with your insurance agent for coverage. We strongly recommend purchasing luggage, personal effects, accident, health and trip cancellation insurance.

How Can We Go from Greece or Israel to Turkey?
There are ferries from many Greek Islands to Turkey and 2 daily flights from Athens to Istanbul. There are also 2 daily flights from Jerusalem to Istanbul.

What attractions does Turkey offer related to religious history and issues of faith?

History has been incredibly generous to Turkey, which has been vital in the history of the three major Western religions -- Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Turkey is one of a few countries where all three religions have co-existed peacefully for centuries. There are a many important sites in Turkey of interest to people of all faiths.

Christianity
More and more people are discovering the important role Turkey played in the history of Christianity. Travelers can discover many magnificent churches, some nearly as old as Christianity itself, and can retrace the footsteps of Saints Peter and Paul from the Biblical city of Antioch to the underground churches of Cappadocia. Many of the most important events in Christian history occurred in Turkey. Born in Tarsus, the Apostle Paul spread the word of Jesus Christ across Anatolia, expanding Christianity's reach from a predominantly Jewish base to Gentile communities.

Not far from Tarsus on Turkey's Eastern Mediterranean coast is Antakya, known in biblical times as Antioch. This ancient city was founded around 300 B.C. and was home to the first important Christian community, founded in 42 AD by St. Paul. Jesus' followers were first called "Christians" in Antioch and from here Christianity spread to the world. St. Paul departed from Antioch on his three missionary journeys. The city holds the Church of St. Peter, a cave-church where the apostles Peter and Paul are believed to have preached. In 1963, the Vatican designated the site a place of pilgrimage and recognized it as the world's first cathedral.
The "Seven Churches of Asia Minor," a series of communities located near the Aegean coast, is where St. Paul visited, preached and built the early church. Their ancient names - Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (Izmir), Thyatira (Akhisar), Sardis (Sart), Philadelphia (Alasehir), Laodicea (Eskihisar) and Pergamon (Bergama) are familiar from the New Testament's Book of Revelation.

Ephesus, perhaps the most prominent of the Seven Churches, is where St. Paul wrote his letters to the Ephesians, and where St. John the Evangelist brought the Virgin Mary to spend her last years. The Vatican recognizes the Virgin Mary's house, located in the hills near Ephesus, as a shrine. Just outside Ephesus, in Selcuk, is the Basilica of St. John where he preached and is believed to be buried.

Many other regions in Turkey offer a wealth of attractions to the Christian traveler. St. Nicholas was born and lived in Demre on the Mediterranean coast. A church dedicated to the original Santa Claus still stands. Visitors to the biblical area of Cappadocia, located in Central Anatolia, can explore more than 200 carved rock churches beautifully decorated with frescoes depicting early Christian motifs, and a seven-story underground city where Christians took refuge from their persecutors.

The stunning Monastery of the Virgin Mary located near the Black Sea in Trabzon is a well-known monastic center dating to the 4th century. Built on the edge of a l200 foot cliff and accessible only by foot, it housed some of the Orthodox Church's greatest thinkers.

Istanbul became the center of Christianity in 330 AD and it was here that the largest church in Christendom at the time, Haghia Sophia or the Church of the Divine Wisdom, was dedicated by Emperor Justinian in 536 AD. The Kariye Museum, a Greek Orthodox Church from the 11th and 14th centuries, is famous for its incomparable Byzantine frescoes and mosaics.

Judaism
Judaism has had a continuous presence in Turkey since ancient times. Signs written in Hebrew and menorahs carved into stone at historical sites such as Ephesus, Kusadasi, Priene, Hieropolis, and Pamukkale attest to long history of Jews in Turkey. In Sardis, near Izmir, the remains of the largest ancient synagogue in existence date to the 3rd century AD. Its frescoes and mosaics suggest a large, well-established and successful Jewish community in Sardis.

According to the legend of the great flood, Noah's Ark ran aground at Mount Agri (Ararat). When the floodwaters receded, Noah and his family descended from the mountain to the fertile Igdir Plain and repopulated the world.

Jewish Patriarchs Abraham and Job also made their mark in eastern Turkey. Sanli Urfa in southeastern Turkey is known as the city of Prophets. A cave there is said to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. It has become a place of pilgrimage and is now surrounded by the Halil Rahman Mosque. The Prophet Job, who was famed for his patience, is believed to have spent seven years recovering from illness inside another cave located in the district of Eyyübiye two kilometers south of Sanli Urfa.

Jews have enjoyed tolerance and peace in Turkey for centuries. After the Jewish communities in Spain and Portugal were exiled in 1492 during the Inquisition, Sultan Beyazit II welcomed them to the Ottoman Empire. As a result, many Jewish communities still thrive in modern Turkey.

Istanbul is of particular significance to Jewish visitors. In the city's old Jewish Quarter is the 19th century Neve Shalom Synagogue, the Zulfaris Jewish Museum and nearby, the 15th century Ahrida Synagogue. The first Jewish printing press began operating in Istanbul in 1493 and Jewish literature and music flourished during this period.

In Bursa, a short drive south of Istanbul, visitors will find the Gerus Synagogue, built at the end of the 15th century by the first Jews who settled in the city after being expelled from Spain. The name of the synagogue in Hebrew means, "Expelled". Izmir, located on the Aegean coast, has several synagogues, including Beth Israel Synagogue; Bikour Holim Synagogue, named in memory of an epidemic when city hospitals were so full that synagogues were used to house the sick, and Giveret Synagogue, rebuilt after an 1841 fire.

Islam
Visitors to Turkey are often touched by the call to prayer from lofty minarets. The call is heard five times a day, inviting the faithful to face towards Mecca and pray from the Koran. Although Turkey is a secular democracy which guarantees freedom of religion for all people, Islam is the country's predominant religion. People of all faiths may visit Turkey's mosques.

Islam's roots in Turkey date to the 10th Century. In the ensuing centuries Seljuk and Ottoman Turks constructed impressive mosques with elegant interior decorations and imposing domes and minarets. Virtually every Turkish city has a mosque of historical or architectural significance. Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul stands as perhaps the most impressive. Built between 1609 and 1616 in the classic Ottoman style, the building is more familiarly known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior paneling of blue and white Iznik tiles. The Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest in Istanbul. It was built between 1550 and 1557by Suleyman the Magnificent, the greatest sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

Other cities also have impressive Islamic architecture. The Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque) with its 20 domes and Yesil Cami (Green Mosque) in Bursa, was constructed between 1419 and 1420. The mosque derives its name from the exquisite green and turquoise tiles in its interior. Haci Bayram Mosque in Ankara was built in the early 15th century in the Seljuk style and was subsequently restored by the master Ottoman architect Sinan in the 16th century. Selimiye Mosque in Edirne reflects the classical Ottoman style and Sinan's lasting genius.

Konya ranks as one of the great cultural centers of Turkey. As the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th centuries Konya was a center of cultural, political and religious growth. During this period, the mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi founded a Sufi Order known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. Mevlana's striking green-tiled mausoleum is Konya's most famous attraction. Attached to the mausoleum, the former dervish seminary now serves as a museum housing manuscripts of Mevlana's works and various artifacts related to the mystic sect.

How should visitors dress in Turkey?
Casual wear is appropriate for most tour excursions. Women wear pants or skirts, but when visiting mosques it is recommended that they cover their heads with a scarf and both sexes should not wear shorts out of respects for religious customs.

Should I exchange money before I go to Turkey?
The highly favorable exchange rate makes travel to Turkey extremely affordable. Most banks in the U.S. do not have Turkish Lira. However, Turkish currency is easily obtainable upon arrival in Turkey at any exchange office or bank. Daily exchange rates can be obtained from the Turkish Central Bank web site at www.tcmb.gov.tr. This site is in both Turkish and English, and gives links to all Turkish Banks. Turkish daily newspapers also publish daily exchange rates.

There are ATM machines throughout Turkey, particularly in larger cities and tourist centers. Credit cards are accepted by hotels and most merchants.

Are any vaccinations required for tourists entering Turkey?
There are no vaccination requirements for any international traveler.

The World Health Organization web site, www.who.org, provides vaccination certificate requirements by country, geographic distributions of potential health hazards to travelers and information on health risks and their avoidance (click on "Travelers' Health").

Is it safe to drink tap water in Turkey?
Turkey practices safe sanitation standards, and tap water is suitable for bathing and regular tasks such as brushing teeth. However, as is customary in most Mediterranean countries, the majority of locals and visitors drink bottled water. We recommend that visitors follow local custom and drink bottled water, which is routinely served with any meal.
 
New Page 1
Terms and Conditions Site Map FAQ Contact Us Download